MINNEAPOLIS – The latest update to the popular social media app “Snapchat” will have parents looking to update a real chat with their children.
Snapchat recently released its new Snap Map feature that allows a user’s friends to see – with an interactive- emoji-driven map – exactly where the user is located. That exposure has caused some concern with parents throughout the world, including in Apple Valley.
“This is a big deal, because most parents like me don’t want to give away our kids information,” said Kate-Madonna Hindes, mother to 11-year-old Ava and owner of “Girl Meets Geek” – a digital media website.
Hindes is not alone in that position. On Thursday, the Minneapolis Police Department posted a warning about the new app function on their Facebook page.
Snapchat itself has weighed in on the controversy, issuing a written statement that reads in part: “The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works… Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time.”
Hindes recommends that people opt for the “Ghost Mode,” which will hide the user’s location. She also suggests clicking on the app’s settings, where the user can change their “permissions” – what the app can access. And she says it’s yet another reminder of the need for frequent social media reviews by parents.
“It’s our privilege, and it’s our responsibility to talk to them early and often about what could happen,” she said.
Gail Nosek, the Social Media and PR Director and Hamline University – agrees.
“Just having a real conversation about safety with kids, about who they’re connected to,” Nosek said, adding that the conversation is especially important, given that teenagers don’t always filter their social media friends.
“Your friends, the people you are connected to on Snapchat will be able to see you. So people have to be careful who they follow and who follows them,” she said.